I’ve been wondering for several months how (or IF) to integrate my web sales with my blog. I finally decided to write about it here.

Some background: For about 8 years I co hosted a textiles forum at OTWA (Online Traders Web Alliance) until the site closed down about a year ago in July 2007. Mapledr and I hosted an online group for folks who loved textiles and also sold on eBay or on their own websites or on group collectibles sites like Ruby Lane.

In addition we helped many people track down IDs of their textile related items, helping date older fabrics, helping come up with good titles/search words for ebay auctions, etc. We didn’t project ourselves as experts, but there were enough of us with widely varying interests and backgrounds that we often were able to be a big help to folks looking for ID help, etc.

It was a lot of fun and I made many good friends. When the site closed with fairly short notice we didn’t quite know what to do with the group and the information we’d amassed and consequently didn’t pursue setting up another one somewhere else.

At OTWA it was assumed that everyone who participated either sold stuff online or was a buyer. Because of that we did some buying from each other and got some exposure to other online buyers without doing direct marketing there other than signature links on our forum posts.

Since OTWA closed I’ve noticed some big gaps. For instance, I’ve barely maintained my online store (and a move to a different host left me with degraded photos and loads of work to redo it all.) It feels as though I lost a lot of the connections and some friendly pushes to improve things in my online businesses, yes even some healthy competition.